Giving back to the community always gives us that fuzzy feeling inside, whether it’s working at a soup kitchen or simply donating some of your old clothes. Companies have realized that bringing this generosity into their workplace culture does more than simply create a feel-good environment — there are real, monetary benefits. Many companies have already established corporate volunteer programs. In fact, 55 of Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For already offer their employees paid time to volunteer. Here are some of the reasons why volunteer programs are good for your culture.
Doing Good is Good For Your Health
You know the saying — An apple a day keeps the doctor away, right? As we mentioned in our last blog about Easy Workplace Wellness Tips, but there’s more than one way to keep yourself fit and healthy. This 2013 study by the UnitedHealth Group showed that volunteering is actually good for your health. Of those who had volunteered in the past year, 94% reported that volunteering improves their mood, and more than three-quarters of those surveyed reported that volunteering makes them feel healthier and lowers their stress levels. Even better, volunteering is equally as, if not more beneficial for one’s mental and emotional health. Volunteers score higher than non-volunteers on emotional well-being measures such as capacity for strong interpersonal relationships and overall satisfaction with their lives.
Volunteering Appeals to Employees (Especially Millennials)
Most Millennials aren’t satisfied with just a paycheck in their pocket to pay their rent. They want their work to have a sense of purpose. Volunteer programs are perfect for attracting, retaining, and engaging employees — this Deloitte Volunteer IMPACT Survey reports that 70% of Millennials strongly favor companies that are committed to the community. And get this, Millennials that participate in corporate volunteering are more than twice as likely to rate their work culture as “very positive”. Sounds like an easy win-win! Additionally, 91% of Fortune 500 HR managers have vouched that “volunteering knowledge and expertise to a nonprofit can be an effective way to cultivate critical business and leadership skills” like project management, communication, goal-setting and evaluation. What better way is there for employees to develop their soft skills?
Community Service Outings Can Double Up as a Team Building Activity
Most volunteering activities can be done in groups, making it the perfect opportunity for your employees to strengthen their bonds and have fun together. You don’t have to call it a “team building activity” to build camaraderie. The main goal with volunteering is to give back to the community and help others — and team building is an awesome byproduct. More so than in an off-site event or an office environment, employees can get to know each other on a deeper level. And bringing a new understanding of each other’s co-workers back to the office will translate into better work culture.
Customers Want to Work with Companies that Give Back
Just like how employees want to align themselves with brands that give back to their communities, so do your customers. 52% of global consumers purchase products and services from socially responsible companies. Volunteer programs let your customers see and respect that your company is trying to do something good for the community. In fact, they expect it. This Pulse Survey found that 40% of a company’s reputation is determined by volunteering and its corporate social responsibility. And, you might get a little shout-out in the media for a volunteer event or a cause well-supported 😉
All in all, volunteering is undoubtedly a worthy investment for your corporate culture. It doesn’t have to be a full-blown program with regular volunteering days. Even a few trips to a local charity on your own time can go a long way (click here for info). Besides, you can never have too much help. Got any ideas for volunteer activities or awesome nonprofit organizations that are looking for support? Let us know in the comments section below!